Wednesday, 15 March 2017 08:37

Swimming Pool As Social Barometer of Racism

America’s swimming pools have a long, sad, racist history

From The Washington Post

Seldom, if ever, is this forum used to present significant societal issues.  The swimming pool is generally associated with fun, relaxation, recreation and exercise, not as a reflection of cultural and societal norms.  This post from The Washington Post takes a different tact on the public swimming pool, illuminating the fact that perhaps no other vehicle better mirrors the societal attitudes towards race and racism better than the local public swimming pool.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Swimming pools have long been contested spaces where Americans express social prejudices that otherwise remain publicly unspoken. (Though the McKinney pool isn’t open to the general public, it was being used by a resident to host a party with friends from outside the neighborhood, like someone might do at their own neighborhood pool.) They provide insight into the state of social relations in America, both past and present.

The earliest public pools were built in large northern cities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They served mostly poor and working-class boys (both black and white), and reveal the class prejudices of the time. In 1910, for example, the proposal to build a large municipal pool in New York’s Central Park generated intense opposition from the city’s middle and upper classes, because it would attract large numbers of immigrant and working-class kids into their oasis of genteel recreation. “I should consider it disastrous if the only swimming pool belonging to the city was put [in Central Park],” one critic told the New York Times. “It would attract all sorts of undesirable people.” The paper agreed and recommended that municipal pools be located underneath the Manhattan and Queensboro bridges. These locations would have effectively secluded working-class swimmers, protecting the city’s class-segregated social geography.

Click here to read the entire post

James Atlas

James Atlas, an 22-year veteran of the swimming pool industry, is the owner and co-principal of Platinum Poolcare Ltd., a residential swimming pool construction, renovation and maintenance company with service to several commercial aquatic properties including the Bulls, Bears and White Sox training facilities.

Platinum Poolcare Owner James Atlas came to the pool industry after three years of options trading after college, cashing in his chips to work with father Ronald Atlas, owner of Paragon Pools, a commercial pool construction and design company. An entrepreneur at heart, Atlas quickly started up an off–shoot company, Fountain Technologies, through which he designed and constructed water features for luxury residential and commercial properties.

When his brother took over that company, Atlas founded Pool Watch, a management company servicing recreational pools with lifeguard staffing, facility openings, closings and general maintenance. He sold Fountain Technologies and Pool Watch in 1994 and 1995.

Looking to broaden his skill set in the pool servicing industry, Atlas went back to his family pool business, working as a project estimator for multi-million-dollar waterparks, competition pools, high-rise pools, and other large-scale projects.

After a few years, Atlas began receiving consistent inquiries from residential property owners interested in pool construction and servicing. With his father’s blessing, Atlas took the reigns on those new accounts and formed a new company called Platinum Aquatech.

Again looking to go off on his own, Atlas teamed up with Terry Smith, owner of Poolcare Aquatech, another partner company with Ronald Atlas which focused on the service and maintenance. The two companies merged, with Terry and James owning a fifty-fifty share in 2007, effectively becoming Platinum Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd.

Company Background

Platinum Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd., founded in 2007, and resulting from a merger of Platinum Aquatech, Ltd. (luxury swimming pool construction) and Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd.(service, repairs, renovations of swimming pools and spas), specializes in all aspects of pool design, construction and renovation with added focus on specialty aquatic features such as waterfalls, lazy rivers, rock water applications, statuary and other luxury waterscape amenities. The company also provides installation and maintenance services for its customers.

Platinum Poolcare has raised the standards of excellence in residential and commercial pools, spa and waterscape design and construction. We have a combined half-century of experience in building, servicing, maintaining, and renovating award-winning and nationally-recognized gunite pools throughout the greater Chicago area and other Midwest states.

Based in Wheeling, Ill., the company’s headquarters spans 10,000 square-feet of warehouse and office space with 46 trucks, 130 employees during peak season, and one of the industry’s largest onsite replacement parts inventory for quick fixes.

Platinum Poolcare has repeatedly graced the cover of various industry magazines, and has earned hundreds of awards for its designs. The company belongs to the prestigious, invitation-only Aquatech Society for professional pool builders.

Click here to join me on Google +